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1993 blasts case: HC seeks audit of amount spend on special public prosecutor

Nikam, who had served as a special public prosecutor in as many as 36 cases so far, is based in Jalgaon.

india Updated: Sep 14, 2006 00:28 IST

The Bombay High Court on Wednesday sought a CAG audit of payment made by the government to Ujjwal Nikam, special public prosecutor in the 1993 Bombay blasts case.

Nikam, who had served as a special public prosecutor in as many as 36 cases so far, is based in Jalgaon and he stays in a hotel whenever he has to attend a court in Mumbai.

A PIL, filed by another Jalgaon lawyer, SA Shirsat, alleged irregularities in the appointment of Nikam as a special public prosecutor as well as government pleader and public prosecutor in the Jalgaon district court. It also questioned the expenditure on Nikam's stay in Mumbai and his security.

The division bench of Justices RM Lodha and SA Bobde said the alleged irregularities in Nikam's appointment were negligible. However, "to avoid controversies", state government should "strictly adhere to the provisions of Maharashtra Law Officers Act in the future," the court said.

However, the court expressed amusement while hearing that in the last three years Nikam attended Jalgaon court on only 57 days as most of the time he was in Mumbai or other parts of the state where he has been appointed as special prosecutor.

The petitioner had objected to huge hotel expenses for Nikam's stay in Mumbai, footed by the state. The court remarked that if an outside lawyer was engaged as special public prosecutor for cases in Mumbai and he was spending a better part of the year in Mumbai for that purpose, government paying for his stay in the hotel was not justified.

Without passing any adverse remarks, the court directed that the chief secretary should give the details of payments made to Nikam so far to the state accountant general—who comes under the Comptroller and Auditor General of India—for scrutiny.